Mental Health – A Deadly Disease

TRIGGER WARNING – Sensitive Topic to Follow

 

Mental Health has received a lot of attention in the media, from awareness of domestic violence, depression and asking the big question, Are You OK?

Is it enough? Is there enough support for mental health issues, especially given figures cited in social media of the rates of women killed by men and the rate of farmers, mostly male, suiciding due to the conditions they are now facing.

Suicide –  a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

This is how someone once explained my thought processes around my desire to be done with life because it was all too hard and I didn’t want to feel like I was fighting to survive. When things got so desperate, so hopeless and the pain felt like it would never, ever end, ending my life seemed a viable option.  The feeling of no longer having any control, to not be able to problem solve, to be overwhelmed no matter which way I went, no matter who I spoke to, not matter any suggestions of a way forward, it was too hard. The prospect of never having to deal with anything and never having to feel so useless and hopeless and such a burden to those I loved and cared for, really was a good idea. I mean, really, who would love to have all their problems gone? Of course, I did think that suicide was that, an end to all my woes. But after kind and gentle words, I realized it was an end to all things I did love. It was an end to relationship with my children and the start of a life without a mummy for them. I couldn’t face putting them in that position. For some, that love of children is still too much to bare and too much of a hardship to have to parent day in and day out when feeling useless. These dark times tell us that our kids are better off without us. These dark times paint each and every scenario of life with the worst possible outcomes and options that there seems no point in trying to choose as the choice of death is the light in the darkness where all pain, suffering and struggles end.

For me, it has been five years since I have seriously thought that life would be better if I were not part of the living. Thinking that no longer having to battle and face my demons was a peace well and truly over due to me. It is a horrible and dark place when there is no one to gently guide you through the darkness and bring you safely to the other side. I have been blessed with an amazing man, who in our very early days, five years ago, had to walk through this with me. Well I guess he didn’t have to. He could of walked away. It was early in our relationship and he certainly could have walked away and thought I was a crazy girl and way to much hard work. But he didn’t. He talked to me and guided me out of the darkness. He has endured some tough days with me and he has been there for every one of them.

Since moving into my current place, 18 months ago, I have supported six people through suicidal ideation. Some I knew had mental health struggles and some I had no idea, and one a stranger from facebook world. The reason I tell you this, is not to make this about me and expect praises from you all. It is to highlight the fact that you never know who is having a hard time and just when you may be that safety net on the other end of the phone, or messenger or even in person. I am  noone special. I love people and I love helping and giving. I have been known to be a rescuer too. That is not a good thing, for the most part.  The downside is that people take advantage of you and use you and you can be feeling hurt and alone. This has happened to me on numerous occasions. The upside, of which is honouring to say the least, is that people come to you for help. Now, I struggle with being good enough to do anything worthwhile. I struggle to think that I will soon need a job to have an income for me and my boys as they transition from school to the workforce. Self doubt, feeling not good enough, is a work in progress for me that will be one of the things I deal with over the coming months. I do what I can do, to help others and to be there for others. I try to be a woman of my word and walk the talk of caring and loving others. In being there for others, I have noted three common themes that run through these moments of darkness; broken relationships, lack of community and personal contact with others and therefore isolation.

There is a saying that says: “It takes a village to raise a child”. I think we have lost our villages in the everyday life of working to survive, to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. Often, both mum and dad are working and the grandparents are raising their grandchildren. Are we too materialistic? Are we so focused on things and technology and not being left behind in this fast paced world that we forget to take time to just be. If we all made time to just be, to sit in the quiet, to have a genuine chat with someone and not just small talk, would we see the statistics for depression, anxiety and particularly suicide start to fall? Making time for others, in person, without our phones distracting us, letting the person we are sitting with know they are valuable to us and can have our undivided attention for that moment in time. Would we see a kinder and more loving world?

In the past two months I have called police or mental health services to come to the aide of two people. I was concerned that their talk of suicide would be actioned. Was I over reacting? Hindsight told me no, as the people concerned were glad that help was called and it allowed them to start to get the help they needed. Did I feel guilty about it? I sure did. I was concerned at the consequences of those admissions as they were both scheduled, which means it was not a voluntary admission but an admission to protect them against themselves. I so wanted both these people to know that a permanent solution to a temporary problem was really not the answer. I did also think that as one person was aged 85, turning 86 this year, that I can see how they are tired of fighting to be heard and tired of fighting for their happiness when another has so much control and power in that specific set of circumstances. I understood that darkness. I think I even understand wanting to leave on my own terms and leave knowing that I had a long life and a much longer life than anticipated. However, I could not be party to assisting a suicide. And that is a topic for a whole discussion on its own -euthanasia.

For me, I can now reach out to a few friends. I also have my partner, and my siblings but sometimes family are the last people you want to know how much you are struggling. For me, I don’t want to burden them and I don’t want them watching me every moment of the day because they are worried about me. I have to be aware not to isolate myself too much or for too long as the pity party me of being lonely and having no friends will come and dance and play that game. The darkness will creep in as I feel isolated and alone and think that no one cares. And, it is easy to feel that way, not wanting to be a burden and knowing that everybody has their own busy life so not calling anyone. I still catch myself playing that game. I am also getting better at recognizing that game and making positive steps to change that dance. But it takes time and practice.

Having spent most of my married life in counselling and still getting to the point of thinking I was crazy and need to spend a lot of time in a psychiatric hospital, I learnt with a new therapy that I was actually ok. I was a victim of circumstances and the fact that I had experienced what I did, made sense to me now as to why I would visit the suicidal ideation regularly. In the early days it was an escape that I let dance in my mind but could not carry through. As I learnt and grew in and through my pain, the reality of self harm surfaced experimentally. I wondered if t really would help ease the pain. As I further grew in healing, the suicidal ideation was joined with dissociation and having voices in my head, which also helped me on my healing journey. You see, the outworking of all these issues was my body’s way of me surviving such huge emotions as I had been trained not to feel, not to crumble and not to give in. The old adage of being told that I had made my bed and now I can lie in it, carried through so much of my adult life that I did not think I could choose a different path. No wonder my mind was in distress and no wonder that my body is  now showing those abuses through chronic pain. I am hopeful that my new psychologist will help me finish working through the trauma issues. I don’t think I will have any more suicidal ideations, but I am aware that it may happen as I work through the abuse and trauma of the past that plague my sense of self worth and self identity, still today. I am aware of how well I mask being confident and self assured but it is often a mask. I think fake it till you make has helped me become more real and authentic as that is what and who I want to be. But faking till you make it, in confidence in myself, is a mask as the doubt runs deep and long. And in light of knowing this, I think this is where suicidal ideation may rare itself in the future. However, I am also aware that I am walking a path of truth and authenticity of being me, that maybe those issues of the past do not haunt and hold like they once did.

During most of my healing, my faith is what helped hold the fears and darkness at bay. The bible verse that held me to a better life was:

Jeremiah 29:11  ” For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”

In recent years, I have added natural therapy supports to my mental health support and have been using essential oils from doTerra. I love the names of these oils: Balance, Cheer, Elevation, Clary Calm and most recently a limited edition oil blend called Beautiful. I use them are perfume and have ditched the regular store purchased perfumes in preference to plant based oils for perfumes.

If you are struggling and need support, here are some resources for you:

Lifeline Australia: PH 13 11 14. Website: www.lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue: PH: 1300 22 4636. Website: www.beyondblue.org.au

Suicide Prevention: www.headsup.org.au

Suicide Prevention and Education: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

Blessings and take care of each other

Kat xx

Self Care – A Realization about Myself is at the End.

What does self care look like to you?

I used to think that to take time for myself, and only myself was a selfish and non christian thing to do. I was raised to care for others and think about others before I thought about myself. In my Christian walk, I always felt that I had to think about others and do for others as I would want them to do for me. Even in adultery, I was told to forgive as Jesus had forgiven me. I don’t recall that it was alright to grieve or to mistrust but to forgive and forget, least I be judged.

In the years of healing that begun before separation and divorce, I learnt a lot of things about myself. One was that I was not crazy nor insane as I had thought. My first healing week at a trauma camp was my last ditch effort in surviving this thing called life. The other thing I learnt was to feel and to listen to myself and that small, quiet inner child voice inside.

I learnt to care for myself and realize that when I did care for myself, I was able to care for myself, my children and others much more lovingly.

So, what does self care look like for me?
1. A long, hot shower when the kids are at school so I can totally relax and enjoy it. Usually this also includes washing my hair, shaving my legs and going slow.
2. Going for a walk, either by myself or with the dog.
3. doing a craft such as sewing, knitting, crochet, tapestry, cross stitch or scrap-booking. Yes, I have a stash for all of these crafts. I generally only buy when on special and clearance, especially fabric as I like to sew for charity.
4. Reading a book. Although that usually comes with me wanting to sleep. An association I haven’t kicked, so reading is usually at night.
5. With modern technology comes some advantages, such as Facebook. I can spend countless hours here and this can be a total waste of time or it can be a time to chat to friends and gather information or support causes by signing petitions for causes I believe in. Sometimes it can be a destructive place where people tear you to shreds, defame you and blame you for all their problems, even when you have sacrificed much for them or expressed your personal opinion and someone has taken offence.
6. This year has seen me introduce hydrotherapy into my self care regime. I have not done so for a few months now as I had been unwell and got out of routine and getting back was too hard. I also went on holidays and that has deferred my return. Next week, I plan to return. I love the warmth of the pool. I am confident in most of the exercises the physiotherapist has given me. I want to add aqua aerobics and aqua tai chi to my pool visits.
7. Reducing toxins in my household by introducing pure essential oils and using them for health care, mental health care, perfume and aromatherapy. I have always had sensitive skin and instant headache reactions to perfume, candle and incense shops. With essential oils, I can clean my home and look after our health needs too.
8. Education. I love to learn and especially to go to class. I have almost completed my Certificate IV in Community Services and also almost completed my Diploma of Community Services in Case Management. Health issues halted my finishing. My plan is to return to Tafe next year. As my boys get older and independant, my carers pension will be replaced by Newstart, I imagine. With this in mind, I need to complete my training and work experience and secure employment. I am also doing a course on Blogging and using this WordPress Site. And I also have an aromatherapy course in the pipeline, along with naturopath, mindful nutrition and herbalist. I think these all compliment each other and will fulfill my curiosity at how to include these natural approaches to life and health in my everyday life with the knowledge and understanding of Why? Why do I feel these areas are important to health and well-being. I hope to learn some of the science behind it all to compliment my why answer of feeling better for the changes.

I also doubt my ability to be a carer, teacher, educator or worker and look to education to help this void. This realization has come about as I type and will need further investigation to the beliefs I hold about myself, who I am and who I am capable of being and how this came to be!

The way you choose to self care is totally up to you! There are so many ways to look after you! They don’t have to cost money either. Be creative and try something new. Surprisingly, I love going to hydrotherapy. I hate exercise and the gym but finding this heated pool with physiotherapy assistance has been the best thing I have done for myself, along with changing the chemical load in our immediate environment.

Remember, self care does not have to be expensive, nor does it have to be time consuming. But it does have to be about you. You are worth it and you deserve it and you will thank yourself for taking time to care for you. And your family, if you are caring for one, will be eternally grateful that you are renewed and refreshed and have shown them that it is OK, it is more than Ok, to take care of yourself so to can better take care of others.

Take time out and renew you!

Love and Blessings, Kat xx

I Am Back and So Excited and Humbled to be Back

This was written on the 16th October 2017. I will add an edits, dated and in brackets, to make it easier to understand, I hope! At the end, is an update that is current and that I will continue to write about in the coming weeks.

I had forgotten my password and access to here in my blog! It has taken me such a long time to get back as I kept pushing to the bottom of my to do list, the things needed to get back online. (I did, again, loose my log in details and forget the, that I had to rest it all again, a few months ago. 25/07/18)

I have written some posts while out of action here at my blog site. I will post them over the coming days. (I have journals everywhere! I have to train myself to journal it all in one spot, for future reference for myself. I am planning on making here the spot for it all! 25/07/18)

So much has happened and I have been challenged and sad and hurt. I have also been excited at the prospect of what each  new day will bring and what I can achieve each day. Some days are the run of the mill days of house chores and washing and folding clothes. Some days are sewing and learning new crafts with friends. Some days are filled with judgments from others and from me to others and toward myself as I process and work through some of the latest events that have taken place. (In addition to the latest events that took place back when I made this draft, today has seen me face the reality that my dad’s brain MRI results are back and that his diagnosis of Dementia has a very poor future prognosis. More about that another day).

Some days are full of questions and seemingly no answer I want to hear. Some days are full of surprises and the best surprises come from my boys! (Although I wrote this last sentence over 7 months ago, it stands true today, the 25th July 2018).

Today’s thoughts for the 25/07/18:  this next six month is going to be crazy busy and stressful.

My dad has one more week in respite care before returning home, to a home that is really not safe for him anymore and a wife (my mother) that lives in denial that dad has been suicidal and has depression and is becoming frailer. It’s time to find a new place for them to live or see them go their own way as it has come time for mum’s hand to be forced and she will have little choice  now as we face an unknown future for dad.

Next week also sees the review of my boys NDIS plans. I have to allocate time to plan and prepare for these meetings, set goals with the boys needs in mind and of course their hopes and desires of what support will look like for them. I always find this such a stressful time of fighting for their right for support and proving their needs and suing the right words and language to get the message across, all the while hoping that the person doing the review is compassionate and understanding and most of all understands that autism support now, particularly for my boys, is almost guaranteed that they will not require ongoing support of NDIS nor Disability Pension Support as they transition to adulthood and independence. But also realizing that this transition is likely to be delayed compared to their neurotypical peers as is the nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I am also still recovering from travel and have not been able to have a full nights sleep since my return six nights ago. I average three to four hours sleep and then it is tossing and turning, being woken with body pain and particularly a feeling like someone is stabbing a knife in my thigh and causing radiating leg pain.  My cold sore is healing,  my sniffles are easing and the chest congestion that was trying to take hold is almost gone thanks to my doTerra Essential Oils and Supplements.

My boys have begun term 3 well and there is more to share about how school has been for this year. My boys are now in year 8 and year 10.

I hope and prayer that this update finds you well and that we can continue to support each other in the every day that is Love, Life and Autism. xx

 

Feeling Useless and Hopeless

I am sure I am not alone in these feelings, whether you are a parent or care giver of neurotypical children or children on the autism spectrum or other additional needs.

As a follow on to an earlier post, I find myself still questioning how Sensory Processing Disorder works. Socks and shoes are still an ongoing issue and days at school are hit and miss for attendance. Soccer training and attendance and playing a Saturday game are also hit an miss.

Today, Mr 12 went to school in slippers. At school he went to change to socks and shoes to enter the hall for roll call. Thankfully, Learning Support had phoned and said we could go straight there. At this point, his socks were on his feet but it was hurting his big toe. I sat with him for approximately forty five minutes and helped him with his math booklet as he did not want me to leave. In the afternoon, a call from learning support had ensured me that his day had gone well. He had put socks and shoes on to attend a lesson and then kept them on for the rest of the day so he would be ready for soccer training tonight. Mr 12 did indeed attend soccer training and stayed and participated for the whole time. Today was a success and I have absolutely no idea how that happened!

Now let’s go back to the weekend where we did indeed manage to get to the game with plenty of time to get socks, shin pads and boots on. And here is where things went downhill at a fast pace. Firstly, the shin pads went on fine but that was where the good going stopped. The soccer socks were next and no matter how much pulling, adjusting, holding tight to get boots on, nothing was right. The socks didn’t feel right as they were no tight enough, they were too tight, they were too loose once in boots, they were too tight when I held the pulled tight sock to then get his foot in the boot. Boots were kicked off. I asked for permission from a club executive for him to play in joggers. I explained his autism and sensory processing disorder. The answer was, whatever it takes to get him playing. Unfortunately, that was not going to be enough to get Mr 12 to try and get shoes on his feet. By now, he was well and truly upset that his feet were not co-operating and he was frustrated. No matter what I tried, I failed. I was failing my boy miserably because I did not know how to help him. By now he wanted to go home. I tried a few more suggestions, but he curled up on the bench and covered his face. He was crying! I also wanted to cry. I have no idea how to help him. The visit to the podiatrist had not provided any workable solutions. We had to cancel our second visit to the occupational therapist as he was sick. We have another appointment for Occupational Therapy. We also have a consult with a Behaviour Therapist. But there and then, at the soccer field, I felt like a total failure as a mother as I have not been able to help my boy and there seems to be no answers nor an end in sight!

As I went to the team manger to return his team shirt, I turned around to go back to Mr 12, crying on the bench, to find him coming out to the team bench were the subs sit. He was welcomed by the manager and the coach. The coach gave him his watch and the job of timing the minutes for the subs to swap. Coach explained how the watch worked and Mr 12 was now involved with his team. He joined in team discussion and fruit and half time and then continued time keeping for second half. At the end of the game, coach told him to go shake the hands of the other team players as he is part of the team. I’m happy and relieved he is engaged with his team and heart broken that he is not playing a game he has loved. I am very thankful for a coach that is encouraging him and making the effort to keep him engaged.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. What will be the secret formula that will engage him to attend school? Will he be super sensitive tomorrow as he has spent so many hours in socks and shoes today? This is something I have not taken notice of before! As I write, this comes to mind, monitor the time he is in shoes.

I know I am a good mum. I know I am not perfect but I try my hardest to do what is best for my children and in particular for my boys, whom are still living at home, and will be for some time yet.

Puberty – What Is Happening?

shoesSensory Processing Disorder is something I am still learning about, six years after we begun the journey of our diagnosis of Autism. My youngest boy, now 12, has always had sensory issues with his feet. It begun with needing socks and shoes to be tight. It meant having to replace shoes up to eight times a year due to them having to be tied up tight so they felt right on his feet. The past three years have not been so demanding in terms of sensory feet difficulties.

It now seems that puberty is approaching and this means hormonal surges. No surprises there, I can hear many of you say. That is true! What I am totally unprepared for is the effect it is having on his sensory system. My boy has spent more days at home than at school recently as getting socks and shoes on his feet has resulted in two hour meltdowns. It has been distressing to see him so upset and hitting his feet, saying his feet are stupid and that his feet don’t want him to even have fun at soccer. Two hours at a time when the need to wear socks and shoes arises. As we are currently in a school term, the meltdown was happening day after day. I watched as he pulled his socks so tight they crunched his toes. I watched as he put his shoes on and then took them off and threw them across the room as his feet didn’t feel right. I tried to tie his shoes tight to help him. I purchased sensory socks, to no avail. I took him to the Occupational Therapist who suggested therapeutic brushing of his feet. Will follow up in two weeks. We went to the podiatrist to see if he had any wisdom or insight to share. He suggested trying barefoot runners as he needs the feel of bare feet to help him ground and center. He is seeking feedback from his feet hence the need for such a tight fit. I thought to myself “that makes sense”. We went shoe shopping, again to no avail. A controlled meltdown occurred in store and the fact the he was about to get his first pair of Nike brand shoes did not persuade him in anyway to conform to my requests or suggestions. He only wanted to go home as his feet were stupid! Next week we return to the Occupational Therapist to see what happens next.

The podiatrist has suggested a mini trampoline for bouncing and providing frequent feedback for his feet – brain connection. A meeting at his school has resulted in him either wearing slippers or joggers to class depending on how he is coping each day. Learning support are also providing him with lesson work in the learning support area when he cannot attend class. The school want to see him continue to engage in school and participate as he has transitioned so well to high school.

white socks

But how long will this last? When will his sensory system allow him to continue as before? When will he happily get both socks and shoes on his feet? When will the hormonal chaos of puberty settle enough to make his days at school happy again?

Mum, I Missed My Stop!

EndeavourThat dreaded message, “I missed my stop”.
I reply, “OK. Get off the next stop” then send a second message “Are you ok?”
The first reply comes as “OK” and the second reply comes as “OK”.
Fifteen minutes pass and I send another message “Where are you?” and there is no reply.
So, here’s the story……
I arrived at my son’s Occupational Therapy appointment early to surprise him and take him to get afternoon tea. He is 15 and for the second time he is catching the train after school to get to his therapy session.
Last week he left school, and successfully caught the train to his appointment. This train travel does include a change of train. When he got to the station he needed to alight at, he did so and then walked himself to the therapy centre. He did walk down a wrong street and when he realized, he was a little anxious but walked himself back to the main street and found the correct street.
This week, he successfully caught the train, did the train change but MISSED getting off at the correct station.
The above conversation takes place between him and myself and then nothing. I have assumed his phone has no gone flat as he should be back in a signal area by the time I message him to see where he is.
I message my daughter as her husband works for the Railway. I message my friend who is also has Asperkids and she panics. I message the therapist and inform him that my son has missed his stop. I tell him I am at the centre. I tell him that this mummy is panicky. He arrives in what seems forever and is calm and relaxed. I say that my boy is missing and he says that he will turn up. I walk into the therapy room waiting for some action but that doesn’t happen and we chat a little about learning life skills and problem solving. well, of course that makes total sense, except I have no idea where he is as his phone is flat. I am reassured that he will turn up. Not helpful I thought, so I say “I’m going to buy his afternoon tea” as I think that there is no point running all over the country side, beside where would I start.
My friend is now ringing train stations to see if there is a way to track him. There are mixed responses with one station being very rude and dismissive and the other very helpful. My daughter is reassuring me that it is good life skills.

But, we haven’t prepped for this kind of scenario. He has no scripted plan. Will he be emotional and crying? Will he know how to get back? Will he freeze? What if the station he gets off at in unmanned?

As I am leaving the grocery, I see my boy walking down the street. What a relief to see him. He is safe. I want to go run and hug him. But I don’t and he doesn’t see me. I watch him, with his fidget spinner in his hand and spinning, and walking to therapy. I enter the therapy centre only a minute after he does. I can’t tell if he is angry or upset but I see he is hot. I ask him how he is and hand him his lemonade and finger bun. His answer is a mumble but that is ok. Given what he has gone through any response I get I am very thankful for.

You may be asking why I didn’t hug him? The answer to that is that I m very aware of how much my feeling and actions can impact the way something is perceived. Although I was panicking about loosing my boy, I also was aware that he has caught the train before and that I think he has enough common sense to to figure things out. He knew where he had to be, right? Of course, I did not know how anxiety would play out in this scenario. Would he be able to think and reason or has he become non verbal in this incident and therefore be unable to ask for help or be unable to think and reason out this situation for himself. I didn’t not want to make a mountain out of a mole hill as the saying goes. I did not want to add to his fear or anxiety of the unexpected happening. Later, after his session and at home, I told him how proud I was of how he handled the situation. We talked about the anxiety and again, I told him how proud I was that he kept calm enough to work out what he needed to do to get back to where he needed to be.
Mummy lessons learnt here:
1. Plan for the unexpected in travel training. Teach strategies for different scenarios.
2. Buy a battery pack, especially for use on therapy day when the boy is travelling alone on public transport.
3. Take into account stations that are manned or unmanned on the train line.
4. Learn how to install and use a’ find my phone’ type of app so that if there is no response from the child that I may at least know where he is.
5. Lesson learnt from younger son, that mum’s phone number is on their opal cards.
6. Be thankful for an amazing therapist, who believes in Mr 15 and can use each and every therapy session to teach my boy, challenge my boy and believe in my boy and help this mummy not to panic too much!

What Is Good Enough?

I find myself torn at times, I want my kids to do the best that they can but not use their disability as an excuse to not try. I do believe that allowances need to be made in order that the children can work and study to the best of their ability. If by approaching the task from another angle facilitates and enhances their learning, then why should they be boxed in to perform a task like the rest of their peers?

For example, when a child is sent home to rewrite a task because it is not good enough, is this ok? When the child can carry out the practical task at school, follow directions, be safe and observe and understand what is happening in the experiment but write very simple sentences to explain  the process, why is that not good enough? I think if the child can verbalize what he is seeing and explain that to the teacher, then surely the learning outcomes have been achieved. The teacher would be wandering through the class to supervise and assist, so why not ask the child who struggles to transition from spoken word to written sentences a few questions to ensure the content of the lesson is understood?

This is an issue I am currently addressing. I do not want to make a teachers life more difficult than it already is.  My boys have been blessed to have the most wonderful and supportive teachers, whom predominately have a good understanding of ASD and my boys needs. In mainstream school, each new year will bring new subjects and new teachers who need to be educated and supported to support not only my boys but other children who require additional support at time. As I missed parent – teacher afternoon due to other commitments, I need to make the effort to book a meeting. Teach-Quotes-if-a-child-cant-learn-the-way-we-teach-maybe-we-should-teach-the-way-they-learn Daisy Heart

Having A Voice for the Voiceless

As parents, relatives and carers of children on the Autism Spectrum, we find ourselves having to be an advocate for our special people. I find that I also have to be an advocate for myself. Whilst I don’t have any disabilities, I do suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD and being an advocate can be very distressing.

I left a marriage of psychological abuse in 2011 and also find myself drawn to be a voice for women who have experienced domestic violence of this nature. My heart has always been to love, support and care for the dis-advantaged, including numerous years as a foster carer. I also spent many, many years volunteering in the Welfare Arm of the churches I was involved in.

These days I don’t attend church and do have struggles with my faith. I have come to realize that the struggle is more to do with how people treat each other, not the infinite wisdom and power of God. I have been and am continuing in a Spiritual Journey of discovery about: What is Faith? Do I trust God? Do I trust People? Why Am I Here? What is My Purpose (beyond raising my kids)?

Recently I have had some experiences that have made me feel uncomfortable. I haven’t agreed with a group decision or a personal posting, finding it very judgmental and creating exclusiveness where I thought there was supposed to be openness and inclusion. I spoke up as I felt I needed my voice to b e heard, on behalf of others who may feel the same but not know how or be able to have a say. It was received with mixed responses, as expected, but still the need for exclusivity in this situation was dominant. I’m currently left with accepting the status quo in the exclusive group, leaving the exclusive group, staying but maybe not participating in the exclusive group. This exclusive group is a sub group of another group, the original group, and the original group is where I will stay.

I would love to hear from you, if you have experienced this or if you choose to reflect and answer the questions below.

  1. How do you manage family duties as an advocate?
  2. Do you feel heard when you advocate for yourself or others?
  3. Do you question your whole sense of being and purpose?

Till next time,

Love and Blessings, Kat xx

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Don’t Get Too Comfortable – Note to Self

The year is certainly speeding by and it’s hard to believe we are almost halfway through term three. The year has been without incident for Mr 14, unlike year 7, last year. But Friday saw that reality come crashing down.
On Friday I received a text message from Mr 14 saying that he doesn’t want to be there (at school). I learn that he had been trapped in a room by some kids in his class. He was unable to just open the door and leave as it was an outward opening door that the kids were leaning on and preventing him opening. When he did open the door, he punched o ne boy in the chest and subsequently received three punches to the head.
I arrived at school shortly after the text correspondence with Mr 14. School was surprised I was there as no one had yet called me. I informed them that I had received a text from my son. Mr 14 was filling out an incident report when I arrived at school. Within twenty minutes of the first text, I was at school and my boy and I were on our way home.
It appears that this has been targeted bullying. I am so sad for my son as he wants to go to school without feeling harassed and bullied. I am heartbroken for him. I know I cannot provide him with the learning opportunities he is getting at school, in the areas that interest him. I often count the years until he can leave the school system.
I certainly feel inadequate every time I have to go to a meeting at school. No matter how much I prep myself for these meetings, I don’t feel I do an adequate job. I did fear becoming that kind of parent that the teachers get sick and tired of seeing. I do know, however, that my boys have to face the consequences of their actions, and I never back down from that. They also need to learn to be more adaptable and to block out the verbal stuff, but at the end of the day, violence is not the answer. Maybe some lessons in self defence and being able to protect one’s head might not go astray!
I am exhausted. I have lost my train of thought, so I guess this is it for today.
May your week be blessed, be positive and love abound!

Anxiety _ A New Lesson

Let me begin by telling you that the morning after the yelling match all was rather quiet and peaceful. Mr 11 was up and dresses even before my alarm went off. The morning went smoothly, the boys got ready and we left at the right time for me to get to my appointment.

Today I received a  pone call  from my doctor’s surgery.  They have my results and would like to make a non-urgent appointment with the GP for follow up. Come Monday morning I will be at yet another medical appointment. This time it is well after school has started, so there is no pressure to be out the door so early.

Today I have also made contact with a Behavioural Support Assistant. I sent her a cry for help in understanding Mr 11. She also confirms that oppositional behaviour is commonly an outward sign of anxiety! In attempting to make an appointment, I say I am pretty free and the first three options don’t work due to the boys community access schedule being on the same afternoon but different times and to other family stressors! Looking forward to finally finding a matching time for us to connect. Relieved that I have reached out for help and have full confidence that we have the right support person for this as she knows our family and has worked with us previously.

I have also booked myself for a consult with my naturopath for a new programme to get my health in shape and manage and support my body in healing and restoration with all the health issues I have.

Spent the morning at a School Leavers Expo for people with a disability. Although Mr 14 is in year 8, I am gathering info and understanding for the next few years as some things can start as early as Year 10.

Mid morning till the time for school pick up saw my time spent with my partner. We went and got ourselves a coffee, had a chat and ran a few errands.

After school we stayed home, except for me going to get hot chips for dinner. I wasn’t feeling all that great as I had consumes two “real” coffees today, one at the expo and one with my partner. My body gives me an automatic clean out when I have to much or too strong a “real” coffee. Way too much real coffee today with an awful side effect and left feeling unwell.

This evening I finally finished pinning the inner lining for a 4.5kg weighted blanket. I have overlocked the edges and tomorrow will also sew the edge hems and the coloumns for the plastic pellets.

A rather productive day. Tonight the boys watched a movie together and then settled quickly and well into bed tonight. They both had Melatonin tonight.

And my joy of the day was laughing at our cat. He is a Ragdoll Lynx and gorgeous. When he pooped on the bathroom floor (discovered later as I am getting ready for bed) he comes running from the direction of the bathroom/bedrooms. Running like a mad thing on a mission. He was so scatty and crazy. HE is funny to watch and often displays this behaviour after pooping. I think I need a cat expert to explain to me the behaviour of this cat!